Wednesday, July 6, 2011

World Oceans Day Winners and Vintage Beach Camping

Between all the changes and losses in my life as of late, I've been feeling rather discombobulated. This morning as I was looking back over my blog and trying to figure out what I would like to write about to get back into the swing of things, I realized that I had never announced who the winners of my World Oceans Day Beach Party were!

Envelope please,


Congratulations ladies! Please send me your addresses and I will get your goodie boxes out to you. Thanks to everyone for participating in the 1st Annual World Oceans Day Party here at The Hut. I can't wait for next year!

Since life has been so unpredictable lately, I decided that today I would do a repost from my early days of blogging. You know, that time when you didn't have any followers and comments were about as frequent as a Blue Moon. In one of my first posts I wrote briefly about my family's camping trips to the beach. We bought a travel trailer when I was quite young and our favorite trips were, of course, to the beach! This picture was taken in the dining area of our first trailer in June 1956, shortly before my fifth birthday.

That's me half hidden behind my baby sister
One of our favorite places for years was Hobson Park in Ventura County, California. Located about eight miles north of the city of Ventura, Hobson is a very small campground with about thirty campsites. There is no room for it to grow, but there are now homes located to the north. Most everything I remember as a child is hard to recognize now, but Hobson does not fall into this category. Sure, the road is now paved and I understand they have RV hook-ups, but the size and charm is still present.

This is Hobson as it looks today…

And this is an aerial shot…

We knew everyone who camped there and became one big family. Those friendships carried on for many years and the memories are among my favorites. You can see from the pictures above that Hobson had a very rocky coastline. We scrambled over those rocks with no fear and when the tide was low we were rewarded with amazing tide pools! We'd find baby octopuses and let them slither on our arms, we'd stick our toes in anemones and scream when their tentacles wrapped around us. We found starfish and crabs, and tried in vain to catch the little fish that would dart in and out of the rocks. We cut our feet on barnacles and slipped on algae, but this didn't slow us down and we never grew bored with exploring our hidden treasures.

Back at camp, the adults relaxed, worked on their tans and planned the next party…

One of the annual favorites was the Hard Times Party. They dressed in old clothes — reminiscent of the Depression Era, so on the left  in this picture from 1963 we have what must have been a flapper style dress worn by the older women of that generation and on the right we have a classic hobo look. In the middle is my mom wearing a potato sack dress! Now Hawaii did not become a state until 1959, but my mom went for the tropical look to dress up her sack, adding leis around her ankle and leg, shell jewelry, a light pink wig, and flip flops to complete her ensemble. Don't ask me why — this is my mom's interpretation of hard times. She was a hoot and everyone loved her.

Here are the ladies in color. My mom is wearing her favorite outfit here — a bathing suit, but then mom had the figure for it along with great legs!

The parties at Hobson always included a pot luck dinner. While the women cooked, the men put all the tables together end-to-end, started the campfire for the fish, clams and mussels, and the feast ensued. We ate, we danced, we laughed, we sang and we enjoyed the camaraderie of good friends.

I still love camping at the beach, but I have gone from a trailer back to a tent. Keep your trailers and RV's, I love tent camping! Here is a pic of my campsite at McGrath Beach in Ventura taken in 1995. I don't rough it by any stretch of the imagination! I have a three room tent and an expresso maker for the fire pit. I camp where there are showers and I don't do hot dogs and hamburgers! Food tastes better cooked over a campfire after a day at the beach and I'm all about the food! In the future I'll share with you my recipe and technique for a clambake, it is what I always serve the first night after setting up camp.
So, there you have a brief look at forty years of beach camping for me from 1956–1995. The last time I was at McGrath was 1999, now I live in Florida and the camping is different here. I've camped at Fort DeSoto, but there are still lots of beaches to explore.

34 Thoughtful Comments:

The Decorative Dreamer said...

Hey Rhonda! Boy did I have some catching up to do with your posts! So sorry! Lot's going on here lately too. I just love your camping photos! Your mother was quite a looker! LOL! Seriously she was what I would call a classic beauty! I loved seeing some of the old campers. I sometimes miss ours, we have great memories and photos much like yours that I am sure I kids will day! I am sorry to hear of your family losses! I found your geneology post very interesting though. We always have a long going discussion (argument) with my husbands cousins over the whole 1st cousin second cousin thing. Our big question is what do you call the relationship between our kids and my husbands cousins kids? Would this be second cousins? Still confused on that one! Congrats to your winners too!

Loui♥ said...

Hello my sweet sea-sister!
loved the trip down memory lane..
I too lived and loved in Ventura..
Two houses between me and the beach.. and tar on my feet from the offshore oil wells in the channel..
experienced my first "Grunion Run" while living there..
but that's another story for another time..
how I miss the days of campfires on the beach..those CAREFREE days..and nights..aaah!
Rod McKuen poems take me back to those times..
Congrats to the winners,,
welcome back, dear friend!
you've been so missed!!!
warmest sandy hugs..

Completely Coastal said...

I love this post, Rhonda!! I want to go camping now! And what an awesome surprise to have won the giveaway. Thank you, thank you!!! Will send my info shortly!! On a side note..., I'm surprised that it is not hotter here in South FL in the summer. Two days ago I was even cold coming out of the pool -can you believe it.

Everything Coastal said...

What a wonderful post! I have missed reading your blog, so glad to see it shared by Sarah (abeachcottage) Your post brings back so many good memories for me too - my family had a beautiful pink and white trailer, that was towed with our big pink and black 1956 Lincoln. We were so styling!

Have a wonderful week -

Seaside Style said...

Rhonda these pics are soo awesome! I too am a camper. In fact we just returned from our 6 day trip on the Edisto River. I have got to dig out the photos from my childhood camping days. Have a great day!

~Lavender Dreamer~ said...

It's so wonderful to have old photos to bring back those memories and enjoy them again! I pulled out an old photo of me when I was growing up to show the grandkids and they got a kick out of some of my old photos. They asked why some didn't have any color! heehee! Enjoy your week, my friend! And I am SO excited to be a winner! Thanks for the fun! ♥

Jane said...

I remember this post...not being much of a camper (Holiday Inn is my camping style!), I got such a kick reading your post and seeing the photos. What fun you must have had on these outings! I wish I could have met some of those goofy ladies in the photos. It must have been such a lark hanging with these ladies...

Della said...

You had a wonderful childhood full of love, fun, and friends! How many kids get to experience what you did? wow. I could just picture you and your siblings playing with the little octopus, and anemones. ( I love how they feel! cool texture ;)

We still have our 3 room tent, but haven't used it for 10 years. You make me want to camp on the beach!

I've missed you!

Karen said...

I love beach camping! Especially the way you've done it!

Great photos, thanks for sharing...

Anonymous said...

Hi Welcome Back - love those photos - like out of a movie

Hope your heart heals ...

Best Wishes,


Julie@beingRUBY said...

Dear Rhonda
I've missed you!! blogging isn't the same without someone who can say 'discomubulated'... I hope things are settling down for you a bit... I know there have been so many changes and can leave a person rattled...

So.. congrats to Maya and Diane.. lucky girls... I'm sure they will treasure their win from you.. just as you treasure all your wonderful memories of your family and growing up with such enthusiasm for life.. the beach and having fun.. .. I'm not sure if I remember this post.. but I do remember the shots of your mum.. what a stunner!!

Have a lovely week Rhonda and I hope things are on the way up.. ciao xxx Julie

Sue said...

How fun. Our summer vacations when I was little we spent a week on Daytona Beach and a week on Miami Beach. We would have a motel with a kitchenette and my mom would cook, we would swim all day and sometimes do arts and crafts in the "kid's room" at the motel. Such a simple time and yet so many great memories!

Kaybe said...

What a great pic of your mom. We are due a camping trip. Ft Desoto works for me.

Love ya!

Lindsay-ann said...

Hi Rhonda
I loved hearing your wonderful camping memories. It sounds like you had such a fun childhood at your special beach. I enjoyed seeing the pictures. I am probably going to shock you now but I have never ever camped in my life! We stayed in a caravan (trailer to you) a couple of times for a holiday when I was a child but it always had a real loo and shower! I think maybe the weather over here in England deters many like myself from camping or that's my excuse anyway. You make it spound very appealing especially in California.
Congratulations to your winners.
Missed you.

Kim@Snug Harbor said...

Welcome back my friend!! Your family looked like they really had a wonderful time. I would have loved to join you scrambling on the rocks like that. Your mom was GORGEOUS!! What a great place to hang out.

Cindy (Applestone Cottage) said...

That is so cool Rhonda!
I am jealous of your amazing childhood! The pics just take me back to a different time.
I was born in Aug. 1956 but I still feel like i can remember a bit of the 50's.
Your Mom looks like she was so much fun, really this is such a good post!
Hugs friend,
I missed you and so glad your back in bloggyland!

rjerdee said...

What an awesome post, Rhonda! I remember those old camping days. Can't do it anymore...hurts my bones to lie on the ground :)

Anonymous said...

What a hoot! Didn't realize that your love of the beach was genetic! LOL!

The photos are treasures. Absolutely!

jmac said...

Sitting here with a grin on mah face while looking at your "vintage" pics!! HaHaHa....I have some EXACTLY like mom was hoot like yours was! And now I'm laughing even harder wondering...hmmmm....
Ya see? We took our boys camping all the time when they (and us) were young. I wonder if they'll look back on those pics one day and say.....Look at Mom, she was such a crazyass!!! I tended to do crazy things on our camping trips too! hahahahahahahahaha
oh, once again, you have put a smile on my face this Friday morning!! and my heart feels as warm as a toasted marshmallow!!

Anonymous said...

Your mom's potato sack dress provided an inspiration for a St. Patrick's Day party. Your mom seemed like an amazing woman.

I hope the new job is working out. I'm sure it has kept you busy. I'm glad you took the time to visit.

Desert Dreaming said...

What a fabulous the pictures. Those were the days, just aren't words, they are the best memories we have. I spent a few hours today, doing nothing but watching classic movies on TCM, love those California beach movies especially, and that's what your beautiful photographs remind me of. I get a bit sentimental sometimes, OK...a lot of times, when i think of the west and how much I miss it, and those good old days...seeing your post, though I was in one of those moods today, really lifted my spirits and know that God is in control and I must continue to be patient. It's really great to be able to read someones post, and though they may not know it, they have lifted your spirits, and that is what yours has done for me. Thank you. Hope you have a wonderful week ahead.


Simple Daisy said...

HI Rhonda!!
I loved this post! I love camping too and I think a dress up camping party would be the best:)
I loved the vintage photos too! I love how photographs always tell such a story....and I don't think you have to be some fancy photographer to get a story across!! Those photographs are a moment in time! I loved them:):)

Unknown said...

Those camping photos are a hoot!!! Love it! Thanks for sharing. Wanted to let you know I'm now following!!!

~Mikey @ Shabby French Cottage

Desert Dreaming said...

Rhonda...I know what you mean about missing California, though I never had the opportunity to actually live there, since my Father does, it was like a second home for many years, and I miss it more than words can say. Those memories are some of my most treasured. But, I know in time, when it's right, God will guide us there. And as far as the lotion goes, you will love it. So different than many products I've tried, and I am a little picky some would say, and you can tell it's crushed pearls, not sparkles, keeps your skin so soft not sticky and last all day, here in Florida, we don't need sticky - and does have the coconut fragrance, but not over powering, just a slight hint of the tropics. Thank you so much for the sweet anniversary comment. So looking forward to your next post.

Have a wonderful week...


RobinfromCA said...

Hi Rhonda! Thanks for stopping by! I love this post about camping along the CA coast way back when! I can remember sitting on the beach while my parents cooked on a hibachi and if there was a little sand on the food it just didn't matter! LOL! I will definitely be around for next year's World Oceans Day!


CHERI said...

Sorry I haven't written lately. I just haven't had time to time to even read my favorites. Hopefully I will have a new post up in the next day or two. I haven't had a chance to catch up with your recent postings. Sounds like you have had a lot going on. Hope it hasn't been too bad. Seems like every time I've turned around lately there has been bad news. 2011 hasn't been the best of years....I'm looking forward to next year!

J - Pacha Mama said...

Beautiful pictures! Beach camping is definately a great goal. If only I could convince the Mister... his eyes are set on a sailboat first and THEN a camper someday. We may just end up camping on a sailboat and see where the waves take us.

Capt. Brian Holaway said...

I still know a few places to camp much like you described about in 1963. I camp there often. Talk to Karen. Capt. Brian

michelle said...

What a great place and amazing memories! I love the photos, how fun to have grown up there and create such bonds with others. I love the potato sack dress and your mom is gorgeous! My favorite memories are that of "our" cottage, growing up there in the summers, being with family and friends, it really doesn't get much better.
I am so sorry about the losses of your cousins and I hope that you are doing good.

nancygrayce said...

Come camp St. Andrew's State Park in Panama City!!!

I don't tent camp, but that's because i'm a wimp! :)

gpc said...

(psssst -- Happy Birthday!)

Moore Minutes said...

I just wanted to wish you an OUTSTANDING HAPPY 60th BIRTHDAY!! I hope it is amazing. <3

And, this beach photo timeline is so capturing. It is a beautiful idea to post in this style. I very much enjoyed reading and looking. :)

Simone @ Doberman's by the Sea said...

Happy 60th girl! There is a party at my place for you.

Julie@beingRUBY said...


We miss you .. hope you have a FABULOUS birthday and that the celebrations go on for days..

I hope this year brings you much happiness, joy, love and lots of good luck and fortune

It's your time!!!

I raise a glass and wish you everything you would want in.. 'The Land of Everything As It Should be!!!'

much love .. ciao ciao xxxx Julie

I love the beach and everything that goes with it! I love the waves lapping at my feet. I love the feel of the sand between my toes. I love the roar of the Pacific and the gentle waves of the Gulf of Mexico in Florida. Let's talk about beaches around the world, bonfires, building sandcastles, swaying palm trees, flamingos, clambakes, sunrises and sunsets. If it's tropical, it fits this blog!


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